Controversies and Critiques, Polemics and Creeds

Martin Luther’s Ninety-five Theses, his response to abuses associated with the sale of indulgences, were initially disseminated circa October 31, 1517 as propositions for an academic disputation and theological discussion, rather than instigations for a religious revolution. First outlined in manuscript, two broadside editions printed in Leipzig and Nuremberg and a pamphlet printed in Basel were issued before the end of 1517. These publications were the first of the reformer’s numerous criticisms of the Catholic Church which were widely distributed throughout the 1520s. This section highlights several of Luther’s early critiques that also delineate his positions on the papacy, the Church, the sacraments, the Eucharist, justification, faith, and the individual Christian. Also included here are published responses to Luther and the early Reformation by various Catholic authors.